Leaving Venice at 7am, I was planning to shlep my way to the airport via two vaporettas and a bus – you know, back to reality. Yet, by, divine intervention, I was lucky enough to hop a free ride in a water taxi with the Artistic Director of the Biennale Cinema College directly to the airport. It was glorious – the quiet, glassy water, the rosy morning light, a slight breeze to nurse my exhaustion. As we hummed along, he said, with poker face intact, ‘It is even more delightful in the summer.’ He went on to Berlin, I went to visit a friend in Rome and it crossed my mind that I was pretty much living in a dream – and later on that day the dream turned into my reality: Memphis would be one of the 3 films financed by the Biennale and will premiere at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. I’ll be honest, the first thoughts I had were guilt and fear – guilt because of the 12 incredibly daring film projects that did not get funding, and fear that 6 months is an insanely tight schedule to make something of quality. Over wine (and a serious plate of Roman lamb) that night, those feelings dissipated into a pure feeling of excitement. Both John Baker and I believe in our project – in our ability to truly realize this film – and now we had one of the most important art institutions in modern history believing in it too. An awesome realization to consider, and potent fuel to add to the fire that will be this film. We now get to make the film.
Aside from the intensity of the process of proving our film ready to be put into action, as well as the creative jolt of energy we put toward the story, the thing I will take away is this – and if it is a cliche, well, so be it: American indie filmmaking is just one fraction of the larger universe that is global independent cinema. There are so many new waves and new cinematic ideas coming from diverse spaces around the world: the (literally) first Arab science fiction film will hopefully be made this year and it will resemble La Jette more than Alien; Israeli and Lebanese films will creatively question identity and trust in ways that American filmmakers do not attempt; South African and Thai projects will (again, literally) expand the concept of cinema in its 21st century form…I guess my point is that telling cinematic stories on micro-budgets not only matters; it is the now…and the future. We’re just thrilled the Biennale Cinema College believes thatMemphis is a valuable part of this now, and that future.